I was struggling & stuck in a rut until I did this
In this most challenging time of pandemic, how do you prevent your health and wellbeing from deteriorating rapidly into danger zones of mental lethargy, depression, crippling anxiety, lack of focus and lost sense of purpose?
This is one woman’s story of how she succeeded despite many obstacles. The COVID-19 lockdown forced Sarah-Jane into solitary isolation a few months after her husband and best friend died. He had bravely battled debilitating illness and she had willingly put her career on hold to take care of him. Sarah Jane found it difficult to get back on track after so much sudden change. I imagined the nightmare of being in her situation and immediately reached out to offer support.
Like many so many others, I was forced to close my therapy business in March 2020. I didn’t know how long it would be before I could practice safely again. I had seen many benefits for my reflexology clients who had taken on board my suggestions and encouragement to improve their self-care routines. Coaching has always been part of my therapy service, ensuring added value for my clients.
I wanted to see how effectively I could use my coaching skills alone to empower clients in creating effective self-care strategies to make a difference in their lives.
Coaching has always been part of my therapy service, ensuring added value for my clients.
Video call seemed the perfect way to trial this process. I asked Sarah Jane if she would like to part-take in six weekly wellness sessions in return for her feedback and the opportunity to measure our success in working together. Thankfully she agreed to part-take and has kindly given permission to share her wellness journey.
Our first session was by WhatsApp video call, with me sitting in my car to get some privacy and space. By our next session we were both using Zoom and I had found some headphones. At first it was hard for Sarah Jane to see any signs of progress despite her best intentions and efforts but luckily for her, I had the benefit of seeing the bigger picture and was able to guide her towards feeling that she could tackle anything, including anxiety, brain fog and grief.
Six sessions, weekly progress reports and two months later, we were still in lockdown but circumstances had improved considerably for both of us. I had moved into my new home and had more time and space to focus on pivoting my business and Sarah Jane had reclaimed her mental focus, lots of calm and a zest for life.
I had the benefit of seeing the bigger picture and was able to guide her towards feeling that she could tackle anything, including anxiety, brain fog and grief.
The corner-stone of our work together was that Sarah Jane learned how to curb her anxiety, with the added assistance of my book ‘Seven C’s to Calm – Reclaiming your Anxiety-free Self’. I offered gentle encouragement & some suggestions and within a few weeks Sarah Jane had devised a self-care routine suited completely to her own needs and she even found a way to manage her time effectively.
She achieved many of her goals, such as participating in on-line courses for both business skills and personal interest. She engaged in on-line networking events and sought support from her local enterprise office for developing her business. She took up gardening and experimented with cooking.
When Sarah Jane chatted with her friends through video-call, they noticed a significant change in her mood and appearance. Sarah Jane was feeling a lot more in charge of her life, all this within two months and still living in lockdown mode.
I was thrilled for her success and it was exciting to discover that I could use video call technology to help clients to turn their lives around, by focusing on their wellbeing.
I asked Sarah Jane to give some feedback on our Authentic Path Wellness Sessions. Like me, she wanted more people to benefit from my on-line coaching service.
Coach Caroline Interviewing Sarah Jane about her experience of using Authentic Path Sessions:
Coach Caroline: How beneficial have these Authentic Path Sessions been for you?
Sarah Jane: Extremely beneficial. I was really struggling and stuck in a rut and had no idea how to get myself out of it. The coaching sessions came at just the right time for me, when I needed it the most.
Coach Caroline: What have been the most significant benefits for you of taking part in Authentic Path Sessions?
Sarah Jane: I’d say having the opportuntiy to ‘talk-it-out’ and having someone to listen to me, who can ‘get’ what is going on with me and helping me to put in place a step by step self-care routine. Also, I am more aware of the signs of anxiety and stress and am able to do things that reduce their effects. these would be the biggest benefits.
Coach Caroline: How has your life improved as a result of taking part in our coaching sessions:
Sarah Jane: I now have much better quality of life, having introduced regular yoga and mediation and other self-care routines and I feel so much better for it. My anxiety and stress levels are radically reduced. I also have steps I can follow if at any time I feel anxious.
Coach Caroline: In your opinion, who can benefit the most from Authentic Path Sessions?
Sarah Jane: Anyone and everyone. My circumstance was that I was suffering from anxiety and stress following my husband’s death. I was going through a complete life transition and needed help to see a way forward. I think these sessions are perfect for someone who is looking for a change of job or career or starting a new business or for someone who is caring for a loved one during their illness. These are times when we need to take care of ourselves most and probably need some extra support.
Coach Caroline: In our weekly sessions we touched on areas such as empowerment, restoration of calm, professional identity and life purpose, positive mindset, acknowledgement of achievements and we discussed the process of grief. Is there anything else you would add to this list of what was addressed in our sessions?
Sarah Jane: Building confidence and self-esteem
Coach Caroline: What rating would you give for the level of support you received in each of these areas we addressed in our Authentic Path Sessions (Rating of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest level of support).
Sarah Jane: Definitely a 5
Coach Caroline: Did you feel weekly sessions were the right level of spacing for checking in with you and to allow for progress to take place?
Sarah Jane: For me a block of 6 weekly sessions was about right. The time allotted to the session allowed me to talk about how I felt, recall what I did or didn’t do and to learn a new technique and during the week I was able to practice the new techniques and make some changes to my routine. Since completing the six week programme a few months ago I have continued to use all the tools I learnt on the course.
Coach Caroline: How would you rate the following aspects of my coaching skills based on our sessions and rating of one to five, five being the score that indicates the best impression made:
- Listening Skills – Did you feel heard?
- Empathy Level – Did you feel understood?
- Matching your needs with useful strategies.
- Helping you to identify meaningful goals.
- Setting appropriate actions (homework)
Sarah Jane: 5 for all areas
Coach Caroline: What matters most to you when choosing me as a wellness coach, would it be my experience as a holistic therapist, or my authentic path story of ‘walking the talk’, my extensive qualifications or the fact I’m author with creative achievements who’s been in the media? Why would choose me above others offering a similar service?
Sarah Jane: Having read your book ‘Seven C’s to Calm’ I knew, that you would know a lot about what I had being going through. Your website also highlights your authenticity and qualifications and shows your professionalism and enthusiasm for helping others with their wellness.
Coach Caroline: Do you feel the title Authentic Path Session is appropriate for the service provided?
Sarah Jane: I like the title, it sounds unique and creative and is reflective of being true to yourself on your own path.
Coach Caroline: At the heart of our sessions we dealt with anxiety and how to move beyond this limiting condition. If you were providing a testimonial publicly, would it be important to you to keep this part of our work private? Do you feel there is a still a stigma around discussing our mental health?
Sarah Jane: For me not at all. I’m happy to share and provide a testimonial so as to help others overcome their limitations. We all have them. I noticed that whenever I chatted to people about anxiety before the lockdown, I was met with silence. I felt I was the only one and that it wasn’t a “real” condition. Since COVID-19 pandemic where life has changed so drastically, I’ve discovered that all my friends have suffered from it and we are now able to openly talk about it, in other words it has become more acceptable to talk about it.
Coach Caroline: Is there anything else you would like to add about our work together?
Sarah Jane: Fabulous course Caroline, really valued the time you spent with me and I enjoyed the sessions very much
This feedback has been kindly given by Sarah Jane whose name has been changed in this article to maintain her privacy and security.
Are Authentic Path Sessions For Me?
I am constantly feeling stressed and overwhelmed by my present life situation ✔️
I find it impossible to make time for myself ✔️
I feel unease a lot of the time and am anxious about the future ✔️
I find it hard to maintain focus ✔️
I lack motivation and sense of purpose ✔️
I feel stuck ✔️
I have low energy ✔️
How many of these statements apply to you, even if it’s only one of the above it’s time to consider taking action. That may seem scary at first or inconvenient right now but waiting until you are completely burnt-out and falling apart is far more scary and not at all convenient, take it from someone who knows. Your future self will thank you for the action you take today to reclaim your zest for life.Follow Caroline Cunningham Art on WordPress.com